Sarah Eminhizer

Sarah Eminhizer's picture
Basic Info
Wild Gift Class Year: 
Better World Expertise: 
Conservation & Stewardship
Public & Institutional Policy
Current Occupation: 
Associate Program Director Coral Reef Alliance
While I have grown up with an appreciation for and a desire to protect and conserve nature, Wild Gift fostered a stronger understanding of the varied approaches to sustainability and conservation (just look at the types of projects Wild Gift alums are doing!). Wild Gift continues to make a strong impression on me and I am ever grateful for my time as an inaugural member of Wild Gift.
Impacts of My Work: 
Improving community based marine protected area management
Reducing local reef threats
Helping communities benefit socially, culturally, and economically from conservation
Using scientific information to prioritize conservation and management actions that help maximize the adaptation potential of coral reefs to climate change

I have more than 10 years of experience as a consultant, researcher, and resource manager focused on conserving coastal and ocean resources across numerous locations including American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, St. Lucia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and U.S. West Coast. I developed a strong love of nature and particularly the ocean and coastal environment while growing up on California’s Central Coast and spending time at the beach and in nearby watersheds. After my Wild Gift Alaska treks of 2002 and 2003, I completed a Masters Program in coastal environmental management at Duke University with an emphasis in coastal management and sustainable tourism. My masters built upon my B.S. in Aquatic Biology from U.C. Santa Barbara.

Following my masters, I worked as an Environmental Planner in American Samoa where I supported collaborative efforts to reduce human impacts to territorial reefs. Then I spent more than five years working as a consultant supporting clients in areas of management effectiveness; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; sustainable finance; and strategic planning. Most recently, I joined the Coral Reef Alliance as an Associate Program Director, where I lead the Fiji program and initiatives designed to improve the efficacy of local management efforts.

As a former consultant, I have led more than 20 projects as a project manager and supported over 40 additional projects nationally and internationally. My specializations include project management; partnership identification and design; capacity development; sustainable finance and grants; monitoring, evaluation, and learning at the program and portfolio scales; program evaluation and enhancement; strategic and business planning; meeting design and technical facilitation; qualitative and quantitative research and analysis; science integration and uptake; and effective institutional arrangement design and financing.

Specific skills I apply in my practice include engaging staff and stakeholders (communities, resource managers, nonprofits, funders, and government representatives), developing solutions, and making recommendations to inform strategic conservation and management decisions. I also bring extensive experience executing systematic and efficient program and organizational evaluations and assessments, strategic planning processes, and more than eight years of experience conducting facilitations and trainings.